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MEDICAL: DISEASES: ZIKA VIRUS : COUNTRIES: CUBA: Cuba Reports Remarkable Success in Containing Zika Virus

David P. Dillard
 

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MEDICAL: DISEASES: ZIKA VIRUS :

COUNTRIES: CUBA:

Cuba Reports Remarkable Success in Containing Zika Virus

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Cuba Reports Remarkable Success in Containing Zika Virus

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN,

ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP) HAVANA

September 2, 2016, 12:21 AM ET

ABC News

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/ cuba-reports-remarkable-success-zika-virus-41815050

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/h9htr9v

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Six months after President Raul Castro declared war on the Zika virus in Cuba, a militarized nationwide campaign of intensive mosquito spraying, monitoring and quarantine appears to be working.

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Cuba is among the few countries in the Western Hemisphere that have so far prevented significant spread of the disease blamed for birth defects in thousands of children. Only three people have caught Zika in Cuba. Thirty have been diagnosed with cases of the virus they got outside the island, according to Cuban officials.

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Many are now watching to see whether Cuba is able to maintain control of Zika or will drop its guard and see widening infection like so many of its neighbors. The battle against Zika is testing what Cuba calls a signal accomplishment of its single-party socialist revolution a free health-care system that assigns a family doctor to every neighborhood, with a focus on preventive care and maternal and pediatric health. That system has come under strain in recent years as thousands of specialists emigrate to the U.S., Europe and South America for higher pay and the allied government of Venezuela reduces the flow of subsidized oil that has been keeping Cuba solvent.

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U.S. government scientists fly to Havana in November for a two-day meeting on animal-borne viruses such as Zika, the first conference of its kind since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations a year ago. American researchers say they are eager to learn more and help incorporate Cuba into U.S.-backed international health programs after a half-century without significant professional interaction.

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"Probably in the last decade we've had two people that have gone down there for anything," said F. Gray Handley, associate director for international research affairs at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "It has been pretty much of a black box."

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So far, there have been about 40 cases of Zika caused by mosquito bites in Florida. Health officials don't expect widespread outbreaks in the mainland U.S. but there are thousands of cases in Puerto Rico and countries such as Brazil and Venezuela are struggling with large-scale infection.?



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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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